Gender Affairs Council
In Bermuda, many disparities arise from gender-related issues. Ranging from domestic violence, employment, burden of care, sexuality, political representation, increasing poverty and economic opportunity to safety and security, and so forth. We must gain a better understanding of the multifaceted relationships between male and female that are considered, valued and favored equally.
Over the years, Bermuda has seen a drastic increase in gender-based domestic violence rates.
In 2020, the Director of Public Prosecutions revealed that 30 percent of cases were domestic-related.
Additionally, in 2020 the Centre Against Abuse (CAA) shared that they have experienced a sharp increase in domestic abuse reports.
Between 2018 and 2020, there was close to an 88 percent increase in abuse reports, with 91 reported in 2018, 161 reported in 2019, and 171 reported in 2020.
To add further disparity, there are also economic and employment gender-related issues.
In 2021, the Bermuda Job Market Employment Brief illustrated a widening in the earnings gap between the genders.
In 2020, on average, the median gross annual income by sex shows women earned $68,294 per year compared to $61,946 for men, representing a 9.7 percent difference in pay.
Although these are just a few examples of gender-based issues that Bermuda faces, we understand the relevance and importance of working towards resolving them.
The Gender Affairs Council will assist the Government in an advisory capacity to bring perceptions, experiences, and interests of women and men to influence policy-making, planning, and decision-making.
We believe this is key to driving change towards a more productive, profitable, and equitable culture.
The council will be comprised of individuals representing Government agencies, non-profit and civil society organisations, and entrepreneurs appointed by the Minister responsible for Gender Affairs, which at this time is me, the Hon. Tinee Furbert, Minister of Social Development and Seniors.
The council will consist of a minimum of seven (7) members, of which one member (1) will serve as Chair, and one (1) member would serve as Deputy Chair.
They will review, identify and advise on social, educational, economic, and legislative factors that advance the best practice principles of gender equality and equity in national policy, programmes, and plans.
Expression of Interest
Today, we officially launch the Expression of Interest for those in our community who wish to serve on the Gender Affairs Council.
Expression of Interest (EOI) forms must be submitted electronically by October 7th, 2022, and can be accessed online at forms.gov.bm/Departments/The-Cabinet-Office/Expression-of-Interest
The Government’s Commitment
I look forward to receiving expressions of interest, and I want to thank our community in advance for their support, interest, and commitment to what we seek to achieve.
We trust that with the assistance of this council, we will build upon the work done and inspire dedication to continued efforts to resolve gender-related issues.
Gender Equity/Women’s Council
We have built up to this next chapter in growth, most notably in 2008, when the Government officially added ‘Gender Equity’ to the Department of Human Affairs mandate, and approval was given for establishing an Equity Council for Bermuda.
Then, in 2010, the former Ministry of Culture and Social Rehabilitation established a Women’s Council to focus on women’s issues in Bermuda under the former leadership of The Hon. Neletha I. Butter field.
In 2017, the work continued with the United Kingdom extending its ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) to Bermuda.
CEDAW is an international bill of rights for women. Consisting of a preamble and 30 articles, this Convention defines what constitutes discrimination against women and sets up an agenda for national action to end gender discrimination.
For Bermuda to remain compliant with CEDAW, we must report on the legislative, judicial, administrative, and other measures adopted to implement the convention every 4 years, with the first deadline in 2023.
The Gender Affairs Council will assist the Government in proposing necessary legislative changes, policy initiatives, and programmes in compliance with the CEDAW requirements to assess the social constructs of gender in its expectations, demands, compulsions, and opportunities, responsibilities that societies ascribe across the complex social, political, economic and social systems because of /on the basis of biological differences.
United Nations Partnership
In our most recent step towards addressing gender-related issues, Bermuda and the United Nations embarked on a landmark partnership in June 2022.
The Government of Bermuda signed the Multi-Country Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework (MSDCF), the first-ever partnership of its kind in Bermuda with the United Nations.
It provides a direct connection between the United Nations Development Programme and Bermuda that will benefit our people directly.
The first major project under this new engagement is the Joint Programme ‘Building Back Equal through Innovative Financing for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment’, a one-million-dollar investment across two countries – Bermuda and Bahamas.
Bermuda, we hope that those most suited for this council will open their hearts to serve, so that we can continue to take strides towards creating a more productive, profitable, and equitable culture. I would like to take this time to thank the many women and men over the years and those who will continue in the years to come who advocate and build knowledge on emerging issues and solutions towards gender equality.
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